Dating app founder prepares to launch first wine

The founder of dating app Plenty of Fish, Markus Frind, is preparing to launch the first wine from his Frind Estate Winery in the Okanagan Valley region of Canada, having purchased the 5.3-hectare property for CAN$7.2 million in 2017.

As reported by the Globe and Mail, Frind is set to bottle his first wine in May, with all the wines put into tanks in November 2018.

According to the news site, the winery will launch single varietal still wines made from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling, as well as a sparkling wine, presumably to be released at a later date. There are also plans to plant the red hybrid grape variety Regent.

Frind is working with consultant winemaker Eric von Krosigk, who co-founded Summerhill Estate Winery in British Columbia in 1991.

Frind Estate is located on the 13 acre West Kelowna estate overlooking Okanagan Lake, previously owned by father and son W.A.C. Bennett and Bill Bennett, both former premiers of British Columbia. Its 5,400sqft tasting room and cellar door will open in June this year.

As well as the 5.3 acre estate, Frind plans to convert around 300 acres (121 hectares) of hilly grazing land in Kelowna, which he bought in September 2017 for $3.7-million, into land suitable for viticulture. With the site initially having no access to water, the Global and Mail reports that Frind will spend $6 million on landscaping costs alone, moving four million cubic metres of earth in order the flatten the terrain.

According to the site, this will provide Frind with 260 acres of irrigated land, increasing to over 800 acres once he’s prepared additional land that he’s also purchased. This equates to 8% of the total area under vine (10,260 acres) in British Columbia.

In an interview with the paper, Frind said: “The name of the game is volume and higher price point. It will be a serious winery, one of the biggest in B.C.

“There’s a large opportunity to build a very big business here, certainly a very profitable business. The trick is getting to scale and getting the brand built.”

Frind sold his online dating site for US$575 million in 2015, having founded the business in 2003. At the time of the sale, Plenty of Fish had 90 million registered users.

There are a total of 272 wineries and over 10,260 acres under vine in British Columbia, of which Okanagan Valley boasts 84% of the total acreage.

Popular white grapes include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer and Riesling, while the most widely grown reds include Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Cabernet Franc.

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